U.S. death toll passes 80,000, U.K. to begin lifting lockdown

Here are the latest updates on the global pandemic.
Image: Customers buy balloons and flowers for Mother's Day at the Los Angeles Flower Market on May 10, 2020.
Customers buy balloons and flowers for Mother's Day at the Los Angeles Flower Market on Sunday. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

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The U.S. death toll crossed 80,000 on Sunday, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Britain would begin easing its lockdown measures.

In Washington, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday became the third member of the White House coronavirus task force to self-quarantine after possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has emerged as the most high-profile public health expert on President Donald Trump's task force, will follow a “modified” quarantine for the next two weeks after “low-risk” exposure to a White House aide who tested positive, an administration official confirmed.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will also self-quarantine for 14 days, and Stephen Hahn, the administrator of the Food and Drug Administration, has already gone into quarantine. Two other people with access to the White House have also tested positive for the coronavirus, including Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller.

As of Sunday afternoon, the U.S. death toll was 80,032, with more 1.3 million cases reported, according to an NBC News tally.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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U.K.'s Boris Johnson unveils Britain's roadmap out of lockdown

In what he called “a sense of a way ahead,” Johnson said he will be establishing a new five-level alert system that will help detect local flare-ups and give a national picture of coronavirus spread.

The alert level will tell the nation how tough social distancing measures need to be, he said.

Over the seven-week lockdown, Johnson said, the U.K. has been in level 4, and is now in a position to move to level 3.

But he cautioned: “This is not the time to simply end the lockdown this week; instead, we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”

Read the full story here. 

'It is scary to go to work': Top White House official reacts to staffers with coronavirus

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett arrives for a meeting in the State Dining Room on May 8, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP

White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett said Sunday it's "scary" to go to work in the West Wing after two Trump administration staffers tested positive for COVID-19 within the past week.

Hassett, who formerly served as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, told CBS's "Face the Nation" he practices "aggressive social distancing" and will "wear a mask when I feel it's necessary."

"It is scary to go to work," he said. "I was not part of the White House in March. I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home instead of going to the West Wing. But, you know, it's a time when people have to step up and serve their country."

Read the full story here. 

Healthcare workers cheer for patient who spent 64 days in hospital fighting COVID-19

A heartwarming video posted on social media shows healthcare workers cheering for a patient who was discharged after spending 64 days in the hospital fighting coronavirus. 

Gregg Garfield was the first patient admitted to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California on March 5 for COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus. He first contracted the virus after an annual ski trip in February and was on a ventilator for 31 days, according to a GoFundMe started by his sister.

In the video posted on Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Facebook page, healthcare workers line the hospital’s atrium clapping and cheering as Garfield is wheeled out. As Garfield stands up and walks out with the help of his sister and girlfriend, the hospital employees roar in excitement. 

Cuomo wishes mom happy Mother’s Day: 'I can’t be with you because I love you'

During his daily coronavirus briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo virtually wishes his mother a happy Mother's Day and says "I can't be with you because I love you" due to the coronavirus.

Spain to relax restrictions on Monday, reports lowest daily death rate since March

Eusebio Soria poses for a photo behind a glass door at the entrance of his home as he recovers from COVID-19 in Cabrejas del Pinar on April 28. Felipe Dana / AP

Roughly half of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants will be able to enjoy their first drink or meal at an outdoor terrace on Monday, although residents of Madrid and Barcelona have to wait.

The two major cities have been hardest hit by the virus outbreak. Other areas, however, will be allowed to further loosen restrictions that have been in place for nearly two months. Officials are under pressure to revive a flagging economy amid rocketing unemployment.

Bar and restaurant owners in cities like Seville and Bilbao will be able to open 50 percent of their outdoor seating for customers, while residents there will be allowed meet in groups of up to 10 people, and go to church, theaters and museums in limited numbers. Small shops will be able to open without the requirement for an appointment.

Spain’s health minister reported 143 new deaths from the virus on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since March 19. The total death toll for Spain is 26,621 and it has reported 224,390 cases — the highest in Europe.

Pope calls for EU solidarity to deal with virus

Pope Francis celebrating a private morning mass at the Santa Marta chapel in The Vatican on March 31, 2020.Vatican Media / AFP - Getty Images

Pope Francis is calling on leaders of European Union countries to work together to deal with the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pope noted in his Sunday blessing that 75 years have passed since Europe began the challenging process of reconciliation after World War II. He said the process spurred both European integration and “the long period of stability and peace which we benefit from today.”

He prayed that the same spirit that inspired European integration efforts “not fail to inspire all those who have responsibility in the European Union” to deal with the coronavirus emergency in a “spirit of harmony and collaboration.”

Throughout his papacy, the pope has urged European countries to resist nationalism and instead pull together on issues like migration.

Why some nurses have quit during the pandemic

A nurse performs tests on a possible COVD-19 patient inside a tent on the grounds of the Sophiahemmet private hospital in Stockholm on April 22, 2020.Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP - Getty Images

For weeks, Kelly Stanton wasn’t sleeping. She lay in bed gripped with the anxiety of having to go to work at a Washington, D.C.-area hospital not knowing if she might bring home the coronavirus to her husband and their three children.

It was inevitable, she thought. She wasn’t protected.

Stanton, a veteran nurse of 28 years, had seen federal safety protocols for health care workers begin to crumble amid the global pandemic by early March.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding personal protective equipment, or PPEs, changed consistently. At Stanton’s hospital, nurses were told they would have limited access to an already low stockpile of PPEs and were being asked to reuse single-use masks multiple times, she said.

Read the full story here.

Russia surpasses 200,000 reported cases

Russia’s count of coronavirus infections has climbed above 200,000 after its highest daily tally of new cases. Figures released Sunday recorded 11,012 new cases of the virus for a total of 209,688, with 1,915 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Russian officials say the sharp rise in numbers can be attributed to increased testing, at least in part.

More than half the infection cases and deaths are recorded in Moscow, which will remain under a lockdown for the rest of the month. The total number of cases in the country overtook French and German infections earlier this week to become the fifth-highest in the world.

Churches in Lebanon welcome worshippers again

A worshipper lights a candle during mass at the Saint Nicolas Church in Beirut, Lebanon, on Sunday.Bilal Hussein / AP

Lebanon’s churches welcomed worshippers for the first time in nearly two months on Sunday. Most churches were closed to the public to limit the spread of the outbreak, but Lebanese authorities have started easing restrictions that were imposed in March.

Churches and mosques are now permitted to welcome worshippers for congregational prayers on Sundays and Fridays as long as capacities are limited and social distancing measures are respected. Many worshippers entering churches around Lebanon on Sunday were sprayed with disinfectant and had their temperatures checked before they were allowed in to sit at a distance from others.

Masses had been held in empty churches for the past weeks for the first time in Lebanon’s recent history. Even the country’s civil war from 1975-1990 did not stop its people from going to places of worship.

Lebanon has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East — about a third of the country’s five million people. The country has recorded 809 cases of the virus with 26 deaths as of Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Japan looks to lift state of emergency in some areas

Japan's Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Sunday that the government is looking to lift the state of emergency in “many of 34 prefectures” that are not among the hardest hit by the pandemic before the nationwide deadline of May 31.

“Lifting the state of emergency in many of 34 prefectures that exclude those under specific cautions will likely come in sight as many prefectures have been seeing no fresh infections lately,” Nishimura said in a debate on public broadcaster NHK.

Japan reported more than 15,000 total cases and 613 deaths as of Sunday, according to the country's health ministry.

China reports first double-digit rise in new cases in 10 days

China reported its first double-digit rise in new cases in 10 days on Sunday, the country's National Health commission said. In total, 14 new cases were reported, 12 of them were domestic infections and two from abroad.

Eleven of those domestic case were in the northeastern province of Jilin and one in Hubei — whose capital Wuhan was the epicenter of the global pandemic. Jilin shares the border with North Korea, where the virus situation is unclear.

While China has reported a total of 4,633 deaths and 82,901 cases as of Sunday, the country has reported no new virus deaths for weeks.

The jump in new cases, however, could fuel concerns over how quickly to lift strict social distancing measures and reopen schools and other public institutions. Widely disseminated photos of people socializing in Shanghai’s bar district over the weekend drew some criticism online, according to the Associated Press.